The ‘Thesis’ statement of Romans. Chapter 3. ALL ABOUT: Justice= Righteousness.”
While the inspiration came in a most overwhelming way— the being, the seeing, the meeting, the marching, the touching, the hearing…; the WORD came to me in the Sunday Morning Howard University Rankin Memorial Chapel Worship Service during the 50th Anniversary of The March On Washington.
In my preparation to attend, I did intensive study of the historicity of ‘The March’; some of which I have shared the previous two weeks in this column. It occurs to me that the African Proverb: “Until the lion writes his own story, the tale of ‘The Hunt’ will always glorify the hunter”— applies.
Although I had discovered a wide variety of activities planned, my power of discernment now directed me to the organizations lineaged thru the original “1941 March On Washington”: The A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) was Conferencing at the Capital Hill Hyatt; The National Urban League (NUL) conferenced at the Grand Hyatt; The NAACP busses arrived from the north, south, east and west— Chapters, representing, with Tshirts and Signs and Banners. (I have been following the campaign in North Carolina since it’s start back in February. Right now, “Moral Mondays” is being called one of the greatest works of The NAACP). Of the three younger Organizations who joined these Leaders for the “1963 March On Washington”, The SCLC also conferenced at the Grand Hyatt; and Congressman John Lewis of The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the only survivor of the “Big Six”, was present throughout.
I have been wrestling sermonically with the idea that a ‘dream’ is directly related to ‘sleep’. It occurs to me that it is ‘The Hunter’ who has spun this tale of ‘THE DREAM’ to place in a capsule the life and message and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and in so doing has put ‘The Hunted’ TO SLEEP!— a slow death, or perhaps a ‘prelude to the kill’. It’s like how agitated I am while sitting in the front section of the “2013 March On Washington” listening to so many speakers say ‘Bayard Rustin’, and the next and only thing said about him is ‘Gay, Black, Civil Rights Organizer!’ Then— I heard it from the Rev. Dr. Lewis Anthony, Pastor, St. Lucille AME Zion Church, who delivered the Sermon at the Howard University Service. And I quote him saying, “I am sick of this dream. Martin was about Justice.”
But Jesse! Also at the Howard Service, unsung heroes of the “1963 MOW” were recognized. Names of ‘the hunted’ that must be made known— fighting for justice. But, the Rev. Jesse Jackson ‘stood his ground’— hunted, cast down, but not forsaken. So powerful was his message in this context, I hope to transcribe the recordings I made of both he and Dr. Anthony.
“I am somewhat torn by this celebration… But, I’m torn because I’m almost jealous of the moment so it is not being stolen by misinterpretation. Dr. King was born in Atlanta. He had nothing to do with that. The Dream in ’63 was Ecstasy. The Dream in Memphis is Agony. And while we celebrate Bethlehem and Christmas, our salvation is in the Crucifixion. It is not Atlanta that makes us move, it is Memphis that makes us move. Dr. King did not leave us in Atlanta, where we celebrate, not in DC, he left us in Memphis. The runner picks up the baton and continues from where it got dropped. The baton was dropped in Memphis… You need not look for an Agenda, pick up the baton in Memphis…”
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